It was a pretty exciting week. The kind that makes your toes want to launch you out of bed. It was a challenge that I did not intend to give up or lose. My mission you ask? Make sure we had a packed hall at the Greenpeace India's celebration of the World Environment Day in Bangalore on June 6th. And this was a special celebration because it was also the day of the launch of the Food for Life campaign which introduces the model of Kedia village (Bihar) in for sustainble agricultural solutions in India. Armed with a phone, my excel sheets and a little internet, I jumped aboard the opportunity!

My job was to reach out to organisations, influencers, volunteers and invite them to the event. The lists were extensive and needed a lot of work. However, it is a testament of the generous spirit of the volunteers of Greenpeace that we aced our task. I had multiple people pitch in on various days and they helped me make telephone calls. Some would even take 40 numbers to call in a day, which is no easy feat!

Making the calls was like a game of chance because you never really know what’s waiting you on the other side. One person would not pick up the call, another would never stop talking, others would be evasive and some others would become your friends in an instant. The most interesting situation was when the number I dialled in turned out to be a wrong one. The lady at the other end was quite confused and so was I until I figured out why! But I wasn’t going to waste an opportunity. We both laughed it off and I explained everything to her and invited her to the event. 

You learn fascinating things from people when you talk to them. Different organisations function in different ways and sometimes I would even end up talking to the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) without realising. Every person I spoke to identified with the cause deeply and were extremely supportive. Many individuals I spoke to would get upset about the fact that they could not personally come for the event and would promise to send other members from their organisation because the cause was very close to their heart.

The highlight of the whole experience for me was when the founder of Back2Basics Mr. Madhusadhan called me up and asked to be more involved in the event than just being an audience member. He was very passionate about the cause and wanted to bring attention to safe food as something we should focus our eating habits on as a life choice. To me, this was a poignant moment because I could see how the work that I was doing was contributing to the event in a very significant manner.

The day of the event came and I was absolutely stressed out even before the event had started. I had agreed to pick up the easels required for the Kedia photo exhibition in a van my Uncle said he would give me. I was shocked at the sight of the van! The brakes were weak, the clutch jammed and moving the gears was a quite some workout! It is the most ridiculous vehicle I have ever been in a longtime but I managed to fare quite well.  

Through this experience I got to talk to some amazing people, look inside Greenpeace and see how it works, did work that made me feel like I was making a difference in the world, learned a lot about Ecological Agriculture and made a few friends that I plan on keeping. It was definitely an amazing week that has got me powered up and craving for more. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to jump in and volunteer again for Greenpeace! And maybe next time, I’ll might convince you to join us too!

Aswira Siraj Pashsa is Volunteer with Greenpeace India.